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Recycling Guide Revised

A revision of ASTM D 5033, Standard Guide for Development of ASTM Standards Relating to Recycling and Use of Recycled Plastics, was completed through voluntary consensus by members of ASTM Subcommittee D20.95 on Recycled Plastics. Now available, the guide provides pertinent new terminology and recommendations for life-cycle analysis for recycling and the use of recycled plastics. Originally published in 1990 and reviewed periodically, this 2000 revision supports standards for consumer, commercial, and industrial products made in whole or in part with recycled plastics or recovered plastic products.

Subcommittee member Carleton A. Sperati, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of Chemical Engineering at Ohio University, said the new guide “brings in the points of the responsible use of energy and life-cycle assessment.” D 5033 also addresses:

• Clarified definitions related to plastics recycling;
• Performance standards, specifications, and their revisions;
• Quality assurance;
• Separation or segregation of products by classes;
• Identification and labeling of generic classes of polymers, contaminants, fillers;
• Designing for recycling and degradable plastics; and
• Certification and percentages of recycled plastics.

An organic chemist who retired from DuPont, Inc., Sperati said plastics recyclers, material suppliers, an environmental activist, engineers, and other scientists collaborated over three years to revise D 5033. “We reworked all the definitions with much input from many, many people,” he explained. The guide includes formal definitions for:

• Degradable plastic;
• Pre-consumer plastic material;
• Wide-spec;
• Post-consumer plastic material;
• Reconstituted plastic;
• Recovered plastic material;
• Regrind;
• Thermosets, and more.

D 5033 includes a “Summary of Changes” section identifying revisions in the guide. A new section on percentages and certification of recycled plastics has been added, as well as two appendixes that provide references to related ASTM standards. Information on other organizations that have addressed recycled content of materials is included.

Sperati noted that D 5033 is a companion to “the marking documents:” ASTM D 1972, Practice for Generic Marking of Plastic Products, and D 1600, Terminology for Abbreviated Terms Relating to Plastics.

“The best standard for marking high-value-in-use plastic parts in computers, printers, and other products is D 1972,” he explained. “D 1600 provides the abbreviated terms used in the marking. Such marking aids in proper recycling of the parts at the end-of-life of the product.”

For further technical information, contact Carleton A. Sperati, Ph.D., Parkersburg, W.V. (phone: 304-485-2374). Committee D20 meets Nov. 4-7 in Dallas, Texas. For meeting or membership details, contact director Kathie Morgan, ASTM (phone: 610/832-9721). //

Copyright 2001, ASTM